A lot of people tell you what you should be doing, but what about what you shouldn’t be doing?
LinkedIn is the place to not only find others, but also to be found. And that’s why you need a LinkedIn profile that not only helps you get found, but also attracts people to contact you once they see your profile. I see many people making fundamental mistakes that actually work against them in this regard. If you’re going to spend time creating a LinkedIn profile, I guess you want to maximize your chances of being contacted by the right people, right?
With that in mind, I’ve created an easy-to-understand list of a few things to check against my reasoning. If it sounds like an exercise in search engine optimization, you are on the right track. Like any website owner, you want your LinkedIn profile to stand out and be found!
Enjoy my LinkedIn profile tips!
1. Do not show your personal photo
I wrote a full blog post on why you should include your photo on your LinkedIn profile, but it all comes down to having social media credibility or not. There are too many fake profiles on LinkedIn so you want to prove it’s real. If you’ve taken the time to fill out your LinkedIn profile, why aren’t you showing your photo? It just raises too many potential questions. And company logos or pet photos are obviously worthless here.
2. The title of the LinkedIn profile is not branded enough
Do you see that space under your name? That is your “professional” or profile title. It will appear in the search results next to your name, as well as next to any questions you ask or answer. It is, in essence, your elevator pitch in a nutshell. Are you putting your title and your company name here? Whose! This is the place where you should attract anyone who finds you in a search result to contact you and look at your profile. Your profile title is the most important piece of real estate on your LinkedIn profile, and you should mark it as such.
3. LinkedIn status update is not attractive
This is that “What are you working on?” box I refer to as “Status Update”. Assuming someone finds you and looks at your profile, they are likely to look at what you write here simply because it appears just below your headline profile. What do you write here? Many people in transition find that they are looking for work here. What do you use your LinkedIn status update for? It’s part of your branding exercise, and it should be something engaging that informs the reader of your latest activities and hopefully adds, not subtract, to your LinkedIn brand.
4. Don’t list enough companies you worked for or schools you attended
One of the ways they find you on LinkedIn is through company or school name searches. If you only list your current company and / or don’t even list your university, you’re missing out on being found. Check this out: I did my third year of university abroad in Beijing almost 20 years ago. He had been out of touch with the 15 or more Americans who were there that year. Two of those 15 found me on LinkedIn! And another friend from high school I lost contact with found me this week on LinkedIn. They wouldn’t have found me if I hadn’t included my overseas high school name and my high school name in my profile. Companies are even more important because there are potentially more colleagues who may be trying to find you or recruiters trying to connect with you. You may be missing it!
5. Not having three LinkedIn recommendations
This is the same as not having your personal photo on your LinkedIn profile. Why? When you sign up for LinkedIn and first fill out your profile, LinkedIn recommends that you write three LinkedIn Recommendations. You must do this for your LinkedIn profile to be 100% complete. Job postings on LinkedIn also require three LinkedIn recommendations. These recommendations can only work in your favor, so why don’t you have at least three of them?
6. Too few connections
This is up for debate, but too many people have too few connections on their LinkedIn profile and therefore cannot find them. The idea is simple: when you do a search, you will see results from your network. And vice versa. So the more connections you have, the more search results will appear pure and simple.
7. Do not include three websites
LinkedIn gives you the ability to list three websites on your profile. Are you taking advantage of it? Do you have a Twitter or other social media profile that you want to advertise? Company website? A blog that you like to read? Everything you want associated with yourself should appear here. You will add to the search engine optimization of your own websites just by the fact that you list them here!
8. Don’t claim your personal URL
When you sign up for LinkedIn, you are provided with a public URL that you can then include in your email signature or anywhere else you want to direct people to your LinkedIn profile. You can customize this when editing your profile. Claiming your name here is one of the first things you should have done on LinkedIn. If you have a common name, be sure to claim your LinkedIn URL before others.
9. No keyword-rich brand summary
Assuming someone finds you in a search result, likes your profile title, and doesn’t freak out with your status update, the next most important part of your profile will be your summary. This is your chance to fully bookmark yourself and make sure the keywords you want to associate with you are here. You also want to write something compelling, just like you would on your Resume Executive Summary. This is your stage to tell the world who you are and what you can do! Use it to your maximum advantage!
10. No job descriptions
Even if you’ve listed positions at companies you’ve previously held, it doesn’t mean anything if you don’t have a job description. Job descriptions give you the perfect opportunity to enrich your profile with keywords that will help you get found. Why don’t you take advantage of this?
Did I miss any that you would like to share? Let me know! And if you didn’t make any of the above mistakes, congratulations! Your LinkedIn profile is in good shape!